Book: Wonderment by Nigel Heycategories: Book, Autobiography, Journalism, Travel, Philosophy, Family Life, Asthma, Newspapers, Media, Science Writing, Parenting, Publishing, Memoir
Nigel Heyabout this book: WONDERMENT is the memoir of a man who decided he was a career writer when, at age 11, he sold a story to the BBC. For 60 years I had written hundreds of articles, and five other nonfiction books, about other people, other ideas, other adventures. When I retired from my work as a science writer I decided it was time to share my experiences with other readers and other writers. They, and people who particularly enjoy memoirs, and others who like me are (or know) Anglo-American expats, will enjoy the book in particular, along with adventurers in mind and body, lovers of nature, and ponderers over the eternal questions of how we came to be, what we're doing here, and what it's all about.
I have to say that it took decades to write the book because it includes so much from faded journal entries, old letters, vague scribblings, and other observations that I have collected over the years -- before selecting the best of these for the book. The title is the one-word description of the magic I feel when I consider such huge ideas, or tiny things like the creatures we share the world with and perhaps never see without a microscope. The photograph of a nebula, certainly the most wonder-filled object we can conceive, graces the cover of my book. The hardest part of writing WONDERMENT probably was the need to cut out information that was very important to me personally, yet not so important to the reader, though when I did this wisely I realised that the quality of the text was immediately improved.
Unlike my previous book, THE STAR WARS ENIGMA, which required one-on-one talks with experts in Washington, library research in London, and tape-recorded interviews in Moscow, WONDERMENT required practically no research other than fact-checking to verify information that I had collected in my mind and as a diarist. As I was nearing the end of the book I realised that it contained insights into my character that I had not noticed before. I learned I was an amateur philosopher: near-death experiences and several life-changing events made me such and changed my life: for example the surprising chance encounter with a small boy who asked me, with the utmost seriousness, "Are you God?" Though I do not sermonize the fact, I would like my readers to put down the book with a greater inclination to perceive and rejoice in the wonders that surround us all. And I would like them to listen to those small but wise voices that say that the future will bring good things as well as hostile challenges, and that the alloying of these will fashion humankind into a wiser, more compassionate, and ultimately more admirable species.
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